Friday, September 19, 2014

September 14, 2014

Dear Family and friends,

Love you all SO much! Thanks for the letters and stories and laughs. Siblings, I sent you notes to your own individual emails…feel free to write me…I haven´t heard anything from the Little boys in a while!

Here is the week in journal entries. Enjoy!

My companion and I met up with my ex…companion… Hermana Leishman, the one that lasted 4 whole weeks! She brought good news that Patricio, who was baptized while I was there, is doing well, is active, and has received the priesthood! His daughter is going to be a missionary in our mission for a transfer, 6 weeks! That girl is my hero and I want to be her best friend…it would be awesome to be her companion… 

We had a family home evening with a family in the Ward today and their cousin who isn´t a member. I tended with a game from minute to win it that Hermana Burnett (my other ex comp) always wins. It´s the one where you put a cookie on your forehead and then have to move your face to get it into your mouth, without the help of your hands! The kids were so funny to watch and they loved it.


The gas ran out, so after exercises I woke up EVEN MORE in my freezing shower. How refreshing. The other hermanas thought I was crazy that I didn´t wait for the gas man, but I really wanted to start my studies on time because we had a mini zone conference today with President Wright. We talked about the talk by President Uchtdorf given at the new misiĆ³n president seminar. I don´t know how to translate the title…I think it is ¨Don´t fear, I´ll give thee aid¨or something along those lines. It mentions 2 companions who had problems. One companion says to the other ¨There are two reasons why a companionship gets along. Either they are humble and obedient and work together, or they are both doing wrong things and being disobedient.¨

We did a lot of talking about that and obedience. I can also testify to that phrase said by the missionary. I know that conflicts disappear when we are being obedient and working towards good goals. I also think this applies to marriages…so, there is a good tip for my future.

We helped a few ladies at the neighborhood clinic take out a very stubborn pile of roots from the ground. They were so cute and said things like ¨no, your skirt is going to get dirty!¨but we just laughed and started working. I have to give props to Hermana Diaz on that one because she is the one that saw them and asked to help. I love that girl, she is very observant when it comes to opportunities to serve and I am learning a lot from her example.


One year old Mateo is playing outside in the dirt. We are sitting with his mom on a blanket watching him. He starts putting the pebbles into his hood, one by one. They are small, not weighing very much. Over a space of time we see the pile growing, getting heavier as the quantity increases. His mom says lovingly, ¨What are you doing?¨He looks at her, as if he understood the question. Then he looks at the pebble he has in his hand. He contemplates a moment and then continues putting the pebbles in the hood, one at a time, not realizing that soon his hood will reach maximum capacity. His little hood is now heavy and it becomes uncomfortable for him. He lets out a whimper and looks at his mom, his eyes searching for a solution. His mom tells him, ¨I warned you…¨but instantly goes to his side and begins to take out the pebbles, a few at a time. Relief washes over Mateo´s face and he begins to cuddle into his mom and get closer to her as he feels the care that she gives to his self-created problem.

How often have I known that I have a loving Heavenly Father who is watching me and guiding me and still continued to put little pebbles in my hood?

The relief and peace come in knowing that I have a Savior who helps me take the pebbles out of my hood and allows me to feel the gentle care of my Heavenly Father.

I´m grateful today for this tender moment that demonstrated to me an eternal truth and helped me to understand the love my Heavenly Father has for me and for all his children.


Pioneer children sang as they walked. Missionaries, too, sing as they walk 40 miles. Just kidding, I exaggerated. However, we were walking all afternoon and only took 2 hours total of sitting time as we taught lessons. My legs want to run away now and never come back.

It was a sunny day. Birds were chirping, weird hornet things were stalking our heads, and the dogs were lazily enjoying the sun which took away their desire to bother us.

Today Elder Resek from the area 70 spoke to us in our zone conference. It was such a great conference! I love it when they ask a lot of questions and really let the spirit teach. I am a terrible person and don´t like to answer the questions in front of everyone, mostly because its in Spanish and as son as I volunteer for anything my mind goes blank and I feel like I am speaking Chinese and don´t express my thought well. However, I DO love to write down the questions and use them to start off my studies. For example: Are we using good personal experiences to teach? Am I focusing on the atonement as I teach the lessons? Are baptisms a good source for references? How can we make the baptismal service be more efficient and a more powerful experience for everyone involved?...questions like that.

What was interesting about this conference is that I went thinking about specific situations that we have with investigators praying to receive revelation. The Lord answers prayers! It is so good to know that I don´t need to depend upon my own abilities and knowledge…if I do my part, the Savior always makes up the rest.


What´s going to work…teeeeeamwork. We got together as a branch to clean the church because it was a MESS. Also, it was national service day or some fancy holiday that nobody knew about like that. We said the activity was going to start at 11…so at 12 everyone showed up. Nothing more therapeutic tan cleaning public urinals and wiping the crumbs off of the high council room table!
Afterwards we ate empanadas…and the remaining two thirds of the branch showed up just on time for the empanadas and are SUPER excited to do that activity again in the future! Haha.

Tonight we had a lesson with an investigator and I was SO proud of myself because I realized she had a painting of Jesus at the tomb with Maria, the same one as in our gospel art books but a tiny bit different. It was up high on a shelf and super super dusty so it took me a moment to recognize it, but I asked her what it was. She told me she had painted it based off of a little card she had…FROM OUR CHURCH! We were amazed and began to talk about that. We showed her some other pictures in the pamphlet and the painting of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove caught her attention…how convenient… She told us she would come to church tomorrow after a really good lesson focusing on how Jesus Christ has established his church in our day, so here´s to praying!


FUNDAY! Oh my goodness. Today was the most dramatic Sunday I have ever had in the mission.
To start, we didn´t have any investigators at church…lame…but I still have faith for next week!
BUT, Jesus showed up. That is pronounced Hey’soos for all my gringo posterity. He is an elderly man who makes a living asking for Money to pay for his beer, and sometimes pretends to be a policeman. Anywho, he showed up and was the only ¨investigator¨, but he doesn´t even live in the branch limits. So, he comes in, sits by me, starts talking back to the people giving talks and whatnot, all perfectly normal. When we finished with sacrament meeting we asked if he was going to stay for the class. He said yes, so the four sister missionaries, Jesus, and our mission leader all go to class. Jesus gives the welcome and says the prayer, and then we begin the class on eternal marriage. Our mission leader was looking pale as he taught, and then something scary happened. He took two steps backwards, passed out, hit his head on the table, landedon the floor and started to convulse. My comp and I ran to get priesthood leaders, and our branch mission leader was stable after a few minutes but had cut his head open on the table. They gave him a blessing and then his younger brother and the first counselor of the branch help him. He asked if anyone had his iPhone, because he had it in his hand while he was teaching and when he fell. We searched the room, but it wasn´t there. Then, we all look at each other.

¨Jesus has it…he has to have it…he was the only other personhere…¨

The problem? Jesus had fled the scene.

So, the whole 20 people in the branch go into CIA mode. The priesthood class that day tracked the phone by GPS while the 6 of us Relief Society women learned about the temple sealings. When we left relief society, we got the story from all the men talking in the hall.

A man from the branch had contact with the brother of the mission leader. They were telling him where to go, using the GPS system. He ends up a few miles from the church in a street market where they sell all sorts of things. He finds Jesus, puts his arm around his shoulder, asks if he has the phone, reaches into the chest pocket of Jesus and says ¨Thank you!¨ leaves Jesus there in the market, without anything to sell.

Now, the story gets even funnier because in the meantime the other Hermana´s had called their district leader that knows where Jesus lives because it is in his area. The elders go over there after church to talk to him, and here is Jesus´story:

We had the class, like normal. Then the devil entered and possessed the pastor´s body. He grabbed the phone because he noticed nobody else was going to protect it. Then he suddenly got really hungry and went to the market to buy some food. His intentions were to give it back to the pastor, in person.
Hahahahaha. Anyways. It was an entertaining day. I think the elders taught Jesus about repentance and all is well. No hard feelings from anyone, just an exciting story!

That is one thing I love about the branch, everyone is so close and when something happens, EVERYONE gets involved. Hahaha.

Oh, and Sebastian now has 10 stitches in his forehead. Poor guy.

Have a good week! Love you tons!

Hermana VanCott

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